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‘Yotes Notes: Tanguay Motivated to Help Team, Prove Himself

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE --- Alex Tanguay practiced with the Coyotes for the first time on Wednesday morning after coming to the team via a trade with the Colorado Avalanche on Monday.

Tanguay skated on an all-French Canadian line with center Antoine Vermette and Anthony Duclair. He is expected to play on Thursday when Arizona hosts Anaheim looking to snap a six-game losing streak.

“I’ll have the same approach I’ve always had – take it one game at a time and prepare as best as possible,” Tanguay said. “I’m happy. There’s a lot of talent here. There’s a lot of young guys and a good mix of veterans.”

Tanguay, known for his crafty playmaking, will enter the game with four goals and 18 assists in 52 games this season.

“I’ve been playing an offensive role for a long, long time and I haven’t had the best of years, but I feel good,” Tanguay said. “I’m hoping that I can contribute in that aspect of the game and, if not, contribute in other aspects of the game.”

Head Coach Dave Tippett is glad to have Tanguay on board with the team at such a critical point of the season.

“He’s very motivated,” Tippett said. “He wants to finish off the year the right way. He’s a good veteran player and he’s got a real high hockey IQ and is willing to help young players; all the things that are very important to our organization right now he’s very strong at… We’re fortunate to have him.”

Tanguay, 36, is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and he hopes to keep playing.

“I wanted a chance to prove myself and I’ll get that with Arizona,” Tanguay said. “I’m hoping to work hard and play beyond this year. That’s my plan. I still love this game. I didn’t play well early in the season but now I’m starting to feel I’ve been playing better. This is a great opportunity for me. I’m going to try and take advantage of it the best I can.”

Tanguay is the NHL’s active leader in career shooting percentage at 18.5 percent for players with at least 700 attempts. He left the Avalanche ranked seventh in franchise history with 488 points (167 goals and 321 assists) in 598 games, and Colorado fans will never forget that he scored two goals, including the game-winner, in Game 7 of the 2001 Stanley Cup Final series vs. New Jersey. 

• Forward Viktor Tikhonov rejoined the team on Wednesday after missing Monday’s game to be with his wife as she gave birth to their second child – a girl they named Sofia – in San Jose.

Tikhonov said his wife and baby are happy and healthy. He also said they want to give a “huge Thank You” to Tippett and Coyotes management for allowing him to leave the team for the experience.

• New forward Sergei Plotnikov still was beaming on Wednesday, two days after coming to the Coyotes via a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He played just 32 games this season for Pittsburgh.

“I’m obviously really happy to be here,” Plotnikov said, through Tikhonov, who translated questions in English to Russian for his friend. “From the first minute I got traded, I still have a smile on my face. I really want to play and I want to play here. It’s really important for me to get ice time and to be the best that I can be.”

Plotnikov, who wore sweater No. 43 in his debut with the Coyotes on Monday at Pittsburgh, has switched to No. 61. He logged 12:10, took one shot on goal, delivered six hits and blocked a shot in Monday’s game.

• Center Boyd Gordon practiced with teammates on Wednesday and afterward Tippett upgraded the veteran center’s status from week-to-week to day-to-day. Gordon hasn’t played since suffering an upper-body injury on Feb. 4.

• Goalie Mike Smith also practiced with teammates Wednesday but is not as close to returning to games as Gordon appears to be. Smith still is recovering from core muscle surgery he underwent in December.

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